“Very strict enforcement” is a euphemism used by the American Automobile Association to warn motorists of places where even minor traffic violations will likely be caught and punished with heavy fines. The designation “speed trap” is reserved for very strict enforcement places that appear to be using fines to fund local budgets rather than to improve traffic safety.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has always been known for very strict enforcement, as is appropriate given the vast amount of money that flows through US securities markets, their importance both to the financial well-being of individual investors and the economy, and the gigantic rewards that can be harvested via dishonesty that might seem trivial in other contexts. However, the SEC may be crossing the line from very strict enforcement to speed trap with its fines for the use of WhatsApp and other messaging services by financial industry professionals.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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